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CIAM Goes East: The Inception of Tehran’s Typical Housing Unit

Hamed Khosravi
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Hamed Khosravi: Architectural Association, School of Architecture, London, UK

Urban Planning, 2019, vol. 4, issue 3, 154-166

Abstract: The aftermath of WWII not only marked the beginning of a new geopolitical order but also once again brought discourses of architecture and planning back to the frontline of the confrontations between the West and the Soviet blocs. Although the immediate need for post-war reconstruction left almost no time for contextual theoretical development in architectural and planning principles, the “occupied” and “liberated” territories became laboratories in which the new concepts of urban form, domestic architecture, and forms of life were tested. During 1945–1967 Tehran became one these experimental grounds in which these planning principles were tested and implemented; a battleground where the socialist and the capitalist ideologies met. The key to this urban development project was an ideologically charged repercussion of the CIAM (Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne) discourse, specifically on Existenzminimum (1929) and Rationelle Bebauungsweisen (1930). While the CIAM’s agenda had already found its way to Iran through one of its founding members, Gabriel Guevrekian, it became operative through the activities of the Association of Iranian Architects who were in charge of major housing developments in Tehran since 1945. Thus, CIAM guidelines were translated into building codes, regulations, and protocols that had the fundamental role in shaping the Middle East’s first modern metropolis. New housing models were developed and proposed by the Association of Iranian Architects that cut ties with the traditional typologies and proposed a radically new urban form, architecture, and forms of life. This project at large, of course, was not politically neutral. This article reviews the role of two protagonists in introducing and revisiting the CIAM discourse in shaping the post-war neighbourhoods and housing typologies in Tehran.

Keywords: affordable; housing; Association; of; Iranian; Architects; CIAM; Existenzminimum; Gabriel; Guevrekian; mass; housing; Silvio; Macetti; Société; Générale; de; Construction; en; Iran; Tehran; Tudeh; Party (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Handle: RePEc:cog:urbpla:v:4:y:2019:i:3:p:154-166